Andre Bato directs ‘Edging Normal’.

A metaphorical tale of a man’s struggle in letting go of his past in order to feel completely free – we find our protagonist, portrayed by Desmond Richardson, stuck in a limbo-like cycle while attempting to achieve a breakthrough.

Words from the director below:

Andre, please could you tell us a little about your journey making ‘Edging Normal’?

ANDRE: In many ways, this film was one of those instances where everything really felt like it was meant to be. Around the time when Jacob reached out, I was in a place where I had a lot of pent-up creative energy and no adequate outlet where to put it. It’s part of the creative cycle, it’s a constant back and forth of trial and error until you find a way to put an idea into execution. When I saw what Desmond and Jacob had been working on, it was very much a tipping point for me: the choreography was very raw, very human, but at the same time very heavy, stuck, which I related with immediately just because of what experiencing at the moment with my practice.

BTS ‘Edging Normal’

ANDRE: For obvious reasons, when you are an artist you only present your finished ideas, your finished products –  that said, behind every completed idea there are countless unresolved concepts, hours of contemplation, self-doubt, and frustration. The one-piece that makes it through is just the light at the end of a usually very long and dark tunnel – it’s freedom, in a way. With ‘Edging Normal’ I wanted to visually represent what the process of an “unfinished idea” looks like, what being in that dark tunnel and looking for that “light”, and almost but not quite reaching it, really looks, feels, and sounds like. That’s where the idea of having visuals that heavily relied on light-play initially came from.
Edging Normal 2

Behind every completed idea there are countless unresolved concepts, hours of contemplation, self-doubt, and frustration.

To filmmakers who have perhaps not worked with a dancer, or a Choreographer before, do you have any advice?

ANDRE: This is my first piece where dance is at the center of the narrative, but in general speaking my approach is very much the same with every film I make. My main piece of advice is to give your talent a blank canvas, let them express or interpret the concept, and only come in after and place the point of view where it needs to be, and only open your mouth if it opens a new door for the talent to express themselves even more, or in a more explicit way. Never try to force them into a box just because of a preconceived idea you had of what the piece should be like. Granted that, in this case, I got to work with Desmond and Jacob, who from what I can gather sleep, eat, and breathe dance – so I was just a passenger who was lucky enough to be part of and capture this journey that they had already laid out to a certain extent.

Edging Normal 1
Lighting works to great effect here. How did you develop the look, and how did you go about implementing it with the choreography?
ANDRE: This was very much a group effort – and I can’t and won’t take 100% credit over it. I knew I wanted to play with the idea of light vs darkness, and Arseni, my cinematographer, showed me the work of Tim Sessler who, from what I know, has been pioneering this practice of aerial lighting. When we ultimately got together on this, it was really about putting all the elements together: the narrative, choreography, our location, and their relationship to our floating lighting unit. All of that, in a way, was a choreography within itself.
What are you reading at the moment?
ANDRE: The stock market.
Casting Director
Director of Photography

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